Best Christmas 2013 Presents

December 1, 2013 by  

Best Christmas 2013 Presents, This year’s collection of gift books is very on the nose, with titles and subject matters designed to spare bookshop assistants too many questions from desperate present buyers on December 24. They are new parents, you say? We’re Going on a Bar Hunt (Constable & Robinson, T £8.99) by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees will raise a knowing smile in any parents of youngish children. A gentle send-up of Michael Rosen’s children’s classic – except here the bear is transformed in to the sort of man you don’t necessarily want to bump into on a night out. Does the recipient like dogs? Yes? Try Dog Shaming (Virgin, T £6.49) by Pascale Lemire, a collection of photos of glum-looking pets holding confessional signs.

“I ate my mom’s dinner” and “I eviscerated my best friend”. I am a cat person, so I found it all a bit creepy, but I know people love dogs, and so do Adrian Searle and Judith Hastie, whose If Dogs Could Swear (Freight, T £6.49) is filled with fine illustrations of dogs – “most breeds covered” – passing foul-mouthed opinions on whatever has caught their eye. Dogs do not seem a very optimistic crowd, it has to be said.

Nor is Karl Pilkington, of course, who has become mildly famous for being sent around the world at the whim of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in the hope he will pass some spectacularly insensitive comment on what he finds. But he is more than a poor man’s Jeremy Clarkson and The Moaning of Life (Canongate, T £16) is the fourth book from his travels, this time with a spiritual element as he discovers other cultures’ views on the great imponderables: life, death, children, money, happiness.

More literary types will enjoy Dead Interviews (Granta, T £11.99) in which writers meet “dead icons”. Some will make you see how skilful properly clued up interviewers are, while others – Geoff Dyer’s encounter with Nietzsche, for example – will make you hoot.

If that sounds abstruse then Mark Forsyth’s fascinating The Elements of Eloquence (Icon, T £10.99) claims to show us how to turn a perfect English phrase. For those in search of quieter pursuits, Two Girls, One on Each Knee: the Puzzling, Playful World of the Crossword by Alan Connor (Penguin, T £10.39) is classy.

If you are still at a loss, or the person you are buying for has no discernible interests other than texting, then Damn You Auto Correct! 2: More Hilarious Messages You Didn’t Mean to Send, collated by Lyndsey Saul (Virgin, T 6.49) might hit the spot.

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